Sunday, September 11, 2011

MIKE: A DIFFERENT TRIBUTE

I know that everyone is doing a 9/11 Tribute for Magnificent Monday, I however have done 2 posts on 9/11 which will be on Jim's blog: http://holesinmysoles.blogspot.com/2011/09/magnificent-monday-remembrance.html, You can find mine and many other's there.

I don't know that I have written about my friend Mikey; he died 4 years ago on September 9th, he was 37 years old. 

 I met Mike when he was just a youngster in his early 20's, he was dating the girl that lived next door to me. They had a tumultuous relationship of drugs, alcohol and violence. At the time I was still drinking and had my own children at home. Mike helped me in numerous ways was always there when I needed him for help with my troubled child Kenny. I became very close as if he was another of my children. Although he drank and did drugs he never showed me the part of himself that was so confused. He did his best to hide his drug life from me, I always feared for his life more from the alcohol than any other drug,  he became violent when he drank. 

 One of the most important aspects of Mike was his love for his mother, they were very close, he made sure that I met her and that we became friends. We did. Mike shared many parts of his life with me and I with him. For a time he was the only friend I had. 

Then as often happens our ways parted and we did not see each other for many years, I ran into him at a grocery store and we were best friends again. He met my husband and approved, he and my older son (not Kenny) started working and drinking together and bonded all over again. Mike had several girlfriends over the years, the woman he was with when we reconnected was pregnant with his first child. He was trying desperately to get his life together for that baby. His girlfriend started accusing him of having affairs with everyone he talked to,  it was all very sad. Mike left her and had custody of the baby, he was our roommate  for a time. He was trying so hard to give up the life but just couldn't seem to get there. He had a daughter. He met and was with another woman, she was very young, there were problems from the beginning; then she was pregnant. He loved her, but couldn't be with her.

I want to add that in all this time I had never met his other friends, he had friends spread in several different towns all around and none of us ever met until the funeral. He had a huge faith in God, was a member of his church and had many dear friends at the church as well. Mike had a charm and a smile that was extraordinary, he was very handsome in a bad boy sort of way and was an outrageous flirt. He could always make anyone smile no matter their mood. He was loved by everyone who knew him. He was also despised for his insanity at times. 

Just before Mike moved in with us his mother died, she had been sick for several years, he had taken care of her during that time. He was devastated, he knew it was coming, the blow was not softened with knowledge. Then his heart was broken again when his family deprived him of certain rights because of his previous behaviors, it shouldn't have mattered, he was there when she needed him. On top of the death of his mother he was coping with losing his girlfriend of a couple years, and the alienation of his family. He had lost his relationship with his father years ago and his stepbrothers as well.

There is absolutely no debating the fact that Mike was a mixed up kid, a very confused adult, he had done many things that would make the normal cringe and judge. I never did, neither did he ever judge me. He had the most open and loving soul of anyone I have ever met, even with all his illnesses. He played guitar, Metallica mostly, he road bikes, motorcycles, drove fast cars, he did everything with passion, including loving and hating. 

After Mike moved out we became estranged again, over something very trivial, with his passion it became large. We didn't speak for months because he thought I wronged him, me in my pride would not make the first move. He was still seeing and hangin with my son so I knew he was alright. 

Then one day about 6 o'clock he road up on a motorcycle he had bought with his inheritance from his mother,just a couple weeks prior. He gave us both huge hugs, ran in the house a grabbed a beer from the fridge. We were sitting outside on the porch enjoying a warm September evening, he joined us and visited for a bit, showing off the new bike. It was of the Ninja type, I don't know what brand, he was very proud of it. I told him,"you are gong to hurt yourself on that thing," he poo poo'd my warning and we sat and talked and settled our differences. When it was time for him to go he gave us both huge hugs and said I love you about 20 times. 

As he pulled out of the driveway we stood and watched as he hit the throttle and soomed off hitting probably 60, 65 miles an hour in 2 blocks, pulling a wheelie as he went. Randy and I looked at each other saying,"he's going to kill himself on that thing." 6 hours later he was dead. He missed an intersection and crashed into the sign on the other side, the bike was fragmented and so was he. 

He was drunk, Mike was usually drunk. I should not have let him leave, but I did. I couldn't have stopped him, he was on a mission. He stopped several places that evening to see many people and had similar conversations with them all, as if he were saying good bye; I will always wonder if he knew.

That was a life changing time for me, Mike's death was not in vain. When I heard what happened my first response out of the hysteria was; " No one will ever come into my house a grab another beer". They haven't. I quit drinking that day and my life completely changed, then on the following Thanksgiving(2 months later), I blew it I got drunker than I had been in years. I drank all of my beer, was stealing Kenny's,(which was rot gut), and stealing shots from Randy's bottle, ( I hadn't drank whiskey in 20 years.) I was sick for three days. I haven't drank since.

To back up a bit, the service for this man was beautiful in that there were so many people , very few knew each other, we accepted each other as Mike's loved ones and mourned him together for the time we were there. The Pastor revealed that Mike had come to him in the weeks before, trying to find answers,  making Pastor laugh at most inopportune moments in Bible study. The service was filled with people like myself, addicts, people in recovery, and half the congregation of his church. We celebrated his life, A life filled with torment yes, but also with love. I miss him still and always will.

Mike has two daughters, the second born after his death, I likely will never know either of them, I can only hope and pray that they know of their father's love and how devoted to them he was, even in his turmoil.


6 comments:

  1. It sounds like he went the way he would like to have gone and like he said his goobyes in his own way before he did. This was beautifully written.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes Marie he was on his bike going fast, he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a poignant story of unconditional love you had for Mike. So glad you were able to write about his life and share with your readers, Jan. And what a tragic end. But you got to see him once more at least. It sounds like he is missed by many.
    ~ Blessings

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes I did get that last hug and I love you, I can't imagine my condition if I hadn't. Thank you for reading.He was misunderstood by many, but those that took the time to see and hear were instantly in love.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I appreciate your honesty in the telling of this whole story, Jan. Life is quite often, in its unvarnished honesty, lacking in shine or pretty fripperies. Many of us are good people who are struggling just to make it from one breath to the next, and hoping that someone out there will accept us for who we are. You clearly gave Mike that honesty and acceptance. He sounds like he was a truly beautiful person, despite the flaws and addictions. You gave us all a gift and painted him in his true beauty. I am sad that he is no longer with us.

    Namaste',

    Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Dawn, Mike was a wonder. I wish that everyone would have had a chance to know him.

    ReplyDelete